Posts Tagged ‘family’

Yes, you read that right. I spent three weeks in the States last month and the camera was largely forgotten during most of that time. To be fair, I was having too much fun with various friends and family members to take very many pictures. Living in the moment and all that (I’m not always good at it, so actually this is a good thing).

I spent most of my visit at BJ’s, getting “kidnapped” by her family almost every day (not that I was complaining) for Starbucks, shopping, and silliness. There is never a dull moment with this crew, let me tell you. 🙂

When I was not out and about, I was making friends with BJ and Mike’s pets, including this very photogenic (and ironically somewhat camera-shy) lady:


Her name is Pooka and yes, she really is as soft and fluffy as she looks.

I also got to spend a few days in Charlottesville with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Naturally, there were some shenanigans as well:


I even managed to go back to Fredericksburg one Sunday and meet up with some old friends there.

And of course I made sure to indulge my geeky side: I was able to see Black Panther opening weekend (fantastic movie, by the way), plus I picked up a few fun odds and ends like this guy:


Yes, that is an Ant-Man keychain. I couldn’t resist.

So, that’s basically my vacation in a nutshell. There was also the usual trip out to Triple-R where I got to be barn staff again for a day, which was fun.

I’ve been back home again for a month now and not too much has been going on, aside from starting up the job hunting process (yippee). I do have a jumping show coming up on Sunday, though, so at the very least I’ll have some new pictures to share soon.


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I may as well give up promising not to go AWOL for months on end, because it always ends up happening anyway. Stuff likes to happen in big chunks, it seems. And then I’m exhausted for weeks afterwards.

Anyway, where were we? After my last post the Christmas season really kicked in full force and it was busy, busy, busy right up to the end. Once again, I was very thankful for my wonderful co-workers who did not, at any point, freak out or cause me to get stressed out. We just all pitched in and got stuff done.

I had the week between Christmas and New Year’s off (well, from the 23rd to the 30th), which was perfect since Sandrine was moving into her new house over Christmas weekend. So we spent Thursday evening loading all her stuff into the truck, drove up to Calais on Friday, then on Saturday we took the Channel shuttle train and drove up to Sandrine’s house.


Inside the shuttle

The rest of the day was spent unloading and unpacking (and many, many trips up and down some VERY steep stairs). By dinnertime the house was starting to look like a house, although there were still quite a few boxes left. We tackled those the next morning after Sandrine opened her presents (the rest of us saved ours for New Year’s Eve).


All in all, it was a decidedly un-traditional Christmas, but those tend to be the ones we remember the most, I think.

I was fully ready to crash for a few days after we got back, but the very next day we got a call from Aunt Susie saying that Grandpa had passed away. He hadn’t been doing well for a while, so it really wasn’t unexpected, but the timing could hardly have been worse. We were all pretty much running on fumes at that point, and somehow we had to pull ourselves together to make it through the family New Year’s dinner at my uncle’s and a last-minute trip to the States. Said trip went well, overall, even if we did have a bit of a blizzard on the day of the funeral (we all agreed Grandpa would have found that hilarious). It was good to spend a little time with family, even under less than cheerful circumstances. Plus I got to spend an afternoon with BJ, which was a bit of a miracle and very much needed.


Me and my bestest friend

Since we’ve been back, I’ve finally gotten to unwind and process a bit. Things are pretty quiet at the moment, so I should be able to get caught up on things.

Until next time, have a little Lucy cuteness:


“Umm, how do I get down?”

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Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up. 😉

The past few months have been busy with work, weddings, and assorted “stuff.” Add a hefty dose of procrastination, and, well, here we are. I’m not quite even sure where to start at this point.

Work-wise, things are still going well. This summer was pretty busy, as I expected, but nothing overwhelming. I have to say, it’s nice to have a boss and co-workers who don’t freak out over everything. Looking back, we made and processed a ton of nougat (lots of huge orders for the rest stop, plus quite a few tourists coming through), but we always managed to get everything done without anyone having a meltdown. I was still pretty pooped at the end of the day, but nothing compared to when I was at The Big Nougat Factory That Shall Not Be Named. Things have slowed down a bit since September, but Christmas season is approaching fast, and we’ve already started on the nougat logs (they’re fun to eat, but a pain to make). At least I’ll get a break after Christmas.

As far as the critters go, I unfortunately have some sad news: we had to put Twilight to sleep back in July. Her arthritis had gotten really bad and the pain just wasn’t manageable anymore. Needless to say, it’s been a little rough on everyone. 😦 Lucy had a pretty bad bout of anxiety for a couple of weeks afterwards. It didn’t help that just a few days after Twilight passed we all went away for the weekend to attend a wedding. Lucy stuck to me like glue for days after we got back. She’s doing better now, but she is definitely a lot cuddlier than she used to be, even with the others. Before, I was pretty much the only one she’d snuggle with, and even then only occasionally. Now she wants cuddles at least once a day, and she’ll even ask other people for petting.

Blue is still as energetic as ever, though she’s certainly settled down quite a bit lately. She still has the occasional spazzy moment, but overall she’s much more focused. We mostly worked on jumping over the summer, and both Fred and Lucie have been very pleased with her progress. For the last month or so we’ve been focusing on dressage, which is what she’s had the most trouble with, and miracle of all miracles, she’s been improving significantly there as well. I might finally be able to do eventing with her this year! In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the little victories. 🙂

In other news, there were two weddings this summer: Thomas and Melodie got married in July, and Olivier and Sissi in August. Both weddings were accompanied by lots of rain, which was mildly inconvenient, but supposedly it’s good luck. In any case, everything went well, everybody was happy, and I got lots of good pictures, so yay. 🙂 That said, I hope the next wedding I go to doesn’t last until the wee hours of the morning. I was kind of a zombie after those two.

Sandrine was here for 3 months before heading over to Wales, where she plans to settle permanently. *sniff* My little sister is all grown up and leaving the nest. Okay, she was already pretty much gone with those 5 years in the States, but this is the Big Move. Naturally, this has been a mixture of exciting and mildly terrifying. But mostly exciting (I hope).

Oh, and guess what? I HAVE A NEW CAR!!! 😀 I finally saved up enough to buy a very nice (slightly) used car at the start of the summer, and here she is. Folks, meet Lizzie!

20160708_110356bThis car is a real blessing, let me tell you. For one thing, IT HAS AIR CONDITIONING. You never appreciate stuff like that until you have to go 7 years without. Driving in the summer suddenly got a lot nicer. Particularly when we went to the beach one day and got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way back.

Anyway, that’s pretty much what’s been happening lately. Pictures to follow at a somewhat more civilized hour. Right now, sleep beckons. Good night/morning/whatever…

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We stayed a few days with Aunt Susie and Uncle Dan in Charlottesville, and I think I can safely say we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I hadn’t seen any of them in four years, so we had a bit of catching up to do. It was a little disconcerting to see how much Will and Matt had grown; I’m pretty sure Will at least will be taller than me next time I see him. On the flip side, their being older meant we actually have some things in common now. Namely, Will is now a huge Doctor Who fan, which pleases me greatly. 😀 Sandrine was amused to note that we have the same “geek-out” face. Well, I have been saying for years that Will is basically a male version of me, so really, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. And Matt is a male version of Sandrine (which she does not bother to deny).

Our visit was filled with errands, video games, ONE episode of Doctor Who (Will and I managed to behave ourselves), soccer games, a visit with Grandpa, and a trip to the Green Valley Book Fair (where I managed to not buy ALL the Doctor Who novels). Good times. 🙂

Will's soccer game

Will’s soccer game

Matt's soccer game

Matt’s soccer game


Yes, it says Stargate Lane

Yes, it says Stargate Lane

Visiting Grandpa

Visiting Grandpa

Uncle Dan, Aunt Susie, Matt, and Will

Uncle Dan, Aunt Susie, Matt, and Will

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In a few days, my sister Sandrine and I are going to embark on an adventure we’ve been wanting to go on for years. She’s been living in California for the last two years, attending the Bethel Supernatural School of Discipleship. After her graduation next week, she’s moving back to Virginia for a bit, which means a cross-country drive, and I’m going with her. We’ve wanted to do a cross-country road trip together for a long time, so naturally we’re both super excited about this. 😀

We’ve got our itinerary mapped out, and barring any incidents, this trip should take us about ten days. We’ll be visiting with friends along the way, and I’ll get to meet a few people I’ve been wanting to meet for a while. I can’t wait!

Naturally, I will be bringing my camera and posting pictures along the way. There will probably be lots of anecdotes to share as well. This is going to be an adventure, after all. 😀

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I know, it’s been a while since I posted anything. I (mostly) blame work. Things have been crazy busy on that front and are just now settling down. A good thing, too, or I don’t know if I’d last until the end of the month.

Anyway, the weekend before last was my uncle’s 60th birthday bash, which he’d been planning at least since last Christmas, and I have to say it was a great success. I was able to get the weekend off, so for once I didn’t have to miss out on the festivities. He rented a lodge out in the Beaujolais region, which made for a fantastic setting.

After dinner, we warmed up the dance floor:



Then we had a bit of dancing with traditional music:



We took a little break for cake and presents:


After a fun trivia game centered around my uncle’s favorite things (art, music and food), he shared a sample of his compositions with us (really good, by the way):

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And then it was time for more dancing:

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I stuck around until 2 am-ish, at which point my bed started beckoning loudly.

After breakfast the next morning, I brought the camera out again and started snapping pictures of things in the courtyard:

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Then one of the other guests joined me for a walk around the neighborhood where I found lots of picture-worthy sights:

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And now, just for giggles, my latest Lucy cartoon:

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I’m cutting it extremely close, I know (and my all-day sci-fi marathon didn’t help), but it’s not midnight in the States yet so it still counts, right? Right, thought so.

So, without further ado, a sampling of pics from the last few months:


Dressage show at home on the 6th:

Laurélia on Nénuphar, waiting their turn

Laurélia on Nénuphar, waiting their turn

Manon on Saho

Manon on Saho

Drill team

Drill team

Justine on To Moon

Justine on To Moon

Lucie on Voltaire

Lucie on Voltaire

Me on Naika "Hi Mom!"

Me on Naika
“Hi Mom!”

Fred on Beauwaldie

Fred on Beauwaldie

Warming up

Warming up

Océane on Naika

Océane on Naika

Eventing competition on the 13th:

Elise getting some last-minute tips

Elise getting some last-minute tips

Caroline on Tosca

Caroline on Tosca

Manon and Saho, ready to go!

Manon and Saho, ready to go!

These kids were utterly cute :)

These kids were utterly cute 🙂

Halloween jumping show on the 27th:

DSC_0492csTJ was going to be part of my costume, but with the massive puddles that was a muddy bear waiting to happen, so Sissi wound up hanging onto him for me all afternoon.




Pony in the mist

Pony in the mist







Jumping show on the 17th:









Jumping show on the 8th:







Christmas with the family:

I think she likes them ;)

I think she likes them 😉

He likes. Muchly.

He likes. Muchly.

This is called putting your gift to good use immediately

This is called putting your gift to good use immediately

Lena, the newest addition to the family

Lena, the newest addition to the family

"Here, this one's for you!"

“Here, this one’s for you!”



DSC_0300csAnd just for giggles:

"Of course I'm not using your computer to post pictures of myself online; whatever gave you that idea?"

“Of course I’m not using your computer to post pictures of myself online; whatever gave you that idea?”

Happy New Year, everyone, and may 2014 be a very blessed year for all of you! 🙂



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